Did You Know You Can Make Your Own Network Cables?

One big money saving project is when a user takes the initiative to create his/her own networking cables. Almost every electronic device now days can be connected to the web and to do that, you’ll need a networking cable. Wireless networking does help eliminate the physical wiring but every true geek knows that a good ol’ wired connection is the way to go! This is especially true for devices that require a constant connection to the Internet with the least amount of interference as possible, such as when playing games online on the PS3 and Xbox 360 gaming consoles. Learn how to save money by creating your own networking cables for your network connected devices.

The next time you head to your local electronics store, notice the price you would have to pay for pre-made network cables. It can be pretty ridiculous. Usually, the longer the cable length, the higher the price By learning to create your own networking cables, you can solve two major problems. First, obviously, you’ll save big bucks. You’ll usually be able to buy a big spool of barebones networking cable for a cheap price. Secondly and equally important for many is the fact that you can tailor the cable to the exact length as desired. Learning to create your own network cables also has other uses as you’ll be able to modify existing networking cables you already own. For example, if you already own a pre-made 50ft network cable but now want to split up that cable to use for devices in smaller rooms, you can do just that!

If creating network cables is really not to your liking, don’t worry. Online stores stores such as Monoprice, Amazon and eBay allows you to purchase networking cables for very cheap prices as well. I guess the main point of this article is to get you to think that you do not necessarily have to purchase networking cables at your local electronics store for high prices. There are alternatives and you should definitely seek them out if you want to save money!

Parts

What You’ll Need:

Network Cable (Cat5e should be fine)
RJ-45 Crimper Tool
RJ-45 Modular Plugs
Network Cable Tester (Optional, but highly recommended)

- Depending on your cabling needs, you can either purchase a big spool of network cable (for example 1000ft) or you can purchase smaller cables such as in 50ft or 100ft length and then split them up however you want to.

Spool

- The main tool you’ll be using to create your network cable is the crimper. This all-in-one tool allows you to strip, cut, and crimp your cable. You don’t need a fancy crimper so please do not spend a fortune on one. Remember, our main goal here is to save money! Once again, Monoprice comes to the rescue. You can buy their crimper for less than $6!

Crimper

- The RJ-45 modular plugs is the cap that goes onto the end of each cable. It looks very similar to RJ-11 plugs (used for telephone cables) but they are a little bigger in size. Usually, these comes in bulk when you purchase them and that is good because if you’re just beginning to make network cables, you’ll most likely make mistakes on your first couple of tries. Once you crimp the cable to the jack, there’s no going back! The only way is to cut it off and restart again. The plug must then be thrown away. Monoprice sells a 100 for less than $5.

RJ54 Plug

- A network cable tester isn’t required but they can easily allow you to see if your network cable has been made correctly without you having to actually plug the cable to a device/router etc. Once again, if you will be purchasing one of these, don’t spend a fortune for it! This Amazon listing has one for about $6. If you have made a mistake on one end of the cable, the tester will easily show that to you. Without it, you’ll have a much harder time figuring out which end of the cable you’ll need to re-do.

Tester

The Process

Once you have all the required parts, you can begin making your own network cable. Because it is really difficult explaining the procedure in words alone, I’ll only be giving a high level overview of what needs to be done. However, you can watch the Youtube video at the end to get a more precise look at what needs to be done.

1. One of the most important procedure before creating the cable is to actually measure the distance between the device that needs Internet access (computer, PS3, Xbox) and your router. The important part here to remember is to always make the cable a little longer than necessary! This gives the cable a little breathing room. If the distance is 10ft, you don’t want to make a cable exactly 10ft in length! Give the cable a couple of extra inches. Also, if you make a mistake after crimping the cable, you’ll need to start over and that means more cable is wasted. Remember to factor this in when cutting your cable.

2. Once the desired cable length is measured out, use your crimper to cut the cable. With the crimper, carefully strip the outer shielding of the wire to expose the actual wires within it. Also, do not strip away too much of the outer shielding because you’ll only have to trim the wires later on. If you do not strip enough of the shielding away, then it will be too short and you’ll have a hard time inserting it into the plug. Once the outer shielding is removed, you should see a bundle of twisted colored wires.

Wires

3. Untwist the wires and straighten them out as much as possible. You’ll now need to rearrange the wires in a certain order. Going from left to right, the order (by color) is: orange/white, orange, green/white, blue, blue/white, green, brown/white, brown.

Coloring

4. Once you have the wires arranged as above, you can now insert them into the RJ-45 plug. Each wire should align into each slot inside the plug. This part is the hardest because as you are inserting the wires, they could get rearranged resulting in the wrong wire going into the wrong slot. If that happens and you crimp the plug, you’ll have to start over again. Luckily, most plugs are clear so you can see if the correct wires are indeed in the right slot. Also, you’ll want to make sure that the wires are inserted in fully as possible. If at this point there is a lot of bare wire showing under the plug after the wires are inserted, you’ll want to trim it down. It’s actually OK if part of the cable shielding gets inside the plug as well. The picture below is an example of how it should NOT look like:

Bad Strip

5. Once you have made sure that the correct colored wires are in place inside the plug, you can now crimp it. Simply insert the plug into the crimper. Make sure to insert it all the way in. Once everything is in place, crimp it down by squeezing the handle. You’ll want to give it a good squeeze but definitely try not to go overboard! This crimping process is what allows the gold connectors to splice and connect into the wires themselves.

Crimping

6. Once you have crimped it down, take it out and gently pull on the cable to make sure that each wire is tightly in place. Nothing should wiggle! At this point, you’ll need to repeat the stripping, cutting and crimping process on the other end of the cable.

7. Once you have both ends created, test it on your network cable tester if you have one. The lights should light up from 1-8 on both ends consecutively and in order. If for example a light jumps from the number 3 to number 5 or whatever, the cable is worthless and you’ll have to start over on that end again. You’ll need to use the crimper to cut the cable directly where the plug ends and then re-do the process until you get it right on both ends. If you don’t have a cable tester, then your only way to test it is by actually using the cable on a device. Obviously if the device connected with your newly created wire can connect online, then the cable works. If not, you know what you have to do! This is where a cable tester comes in handy because without it, you’ll have a hard time determining which end of the cable needs to be redone.

Here is an excellent Youtube video explaining the entire procedure in details (user has disabled video embedding).

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  1. Organized content is the best way to display or post an article, thank you for making it easy to digest your post.

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